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captioning sponsored by macneil/lehrer productions >> woodruff: president obama tapped senator john kerry today to replace outgoing secretary of state hillary clinton. good evening. i'm judy woodruff. >> brown: and i'm jeffrey brown. on the newshour tonight, we look at this first cabinet change for the president's second term with david ignatius of the "washington post" and journalist and author james mann. >> woodruff: then, we turn back to the tragedy in newtown, connecticut, as more victims are laid to rest one week after the shootings. >> brown: speaking out for the first time since the massacre, the nra's wayne lapierre rejects calls for new limits on guns.
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>> i asked congress today to act immediately to appropriate whatever is necessary to put armed police officers in every single school in this nation. >> woodruff: and ray suarez talks to mark glaze, director of the pro-gun control advocacy group mayors against illegal guns. >> brown: plus, we hear from high school students from across the country, and gwen ifill talks with secretary of education arne duncan. >> schools have been forever the safe haven, often safest places in the community. and we need to continue to do everything in our power to make sure that they are. >> woodruff: kwame holman updates washington's spending and tax stalemate after house republicans decide not to follow the leader. >> brown: and mark shields and michael gerson analyze the week's news. >> woodruff: that's all ahead on tonight's newshour. >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by:
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>> bnsf railway. >> support also comes from carnegie corporation of new york, a foundation created to do what andrew carnegie called "real and permanent good." celebrating 100 years of philanthropy at >> and with the ongoing support of these institutions and foundations. and friends of the newshour. and... >> this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. >> brown: the remaking of the obama administration's foreign policy team began today as the president nominated massachusetts senator john kerry to replace hilary clinton as secretary of state. the former presidential candidate who lost to george w. bush in 2004 got the nod after
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u.n. ambassador susan rice withdrew her name. she'd faced republican criticisms over the benghazi terrorist attack. president obama made the announcement this afternoon at the white house. >> i am very proud to announce my choice for america's next secretary of state, john kerry. in a sense, john's entire life has prepared him for this role. having served with valor in vietnam, he understands that we have a responsibility to use american power wisely, especially our military power. and he knows, from personal experience, that when we send our troops into harm's way, we must give them the sound strategy, a clear mission, and the resources that they need to get the job done. in an extraordinarily distinguished senate career and as chairman of the foreign relations committee, john has played a central role in every major foreign policy debate for nearly 30 years. as we turn the page on a decade
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of war, he understands that we've got to harness all elements of american power and ensure that they're working together-- diplomatic and development, economic and political, military and intelligence-- as well as the power of our values which inspire so many people around the world. he is not going to need a lot of on-the-job training. he has earned the respect and trust of his senate colleagues, democrats and republicans. i think it's fair to say that few individuals know as many presidents and prime ministers, or grasp our foreign policies as firmly as john kerry. and this makes him a perfect choice to guide american diplomacy in the years ahead. >> brown: kerry himself did not speak. there was also no announcement today on a nominee to replace secretary of defense leon panetta. joining me now to look at all this: james mann, long-time journalist and author of "the obamians: the struggle inside the white house to redefine american power"; and david ignatius, foreign affairs columnist for the "washington post."
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david, as we heard the president say, a well-known man around washington and foreign policy circles. what strengths does john kerry bring? >> well, the first is the one the president mentioned. he has stature, he's well-known. he's being doing foreign policy from the senate for almost three decades. he's a person well-known to leaders around the world. the second thing that people don't know as much about is that he served as an emissary for president obama in some very delicate situations. the president sent him to afghanistan to try to make a better relationship with president karzai there. kerry is widely believed to have been a success in that. he was sent to pakistan for similar mission to deal with president zardari. it's less well-known that he conveyed a message, written message to hamas to try to see what might be there. >> brown: these were all quiet, secret back channel
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type things. >> these were back channel efforts. the point that i would make is that kerry to the only has experience doing this, but he believes i think correctly, that this is a time in which quiet diplomacy, back channel communication, out of the headlines is going to be essential in dealing with the big diplomatic challenges. >> brown: james mann w what would you add to that and you can bring in any weaknesses you might find in senator kerry as well i have to be honest and say i'm not completely bowled over by the appointment. this was a safe second choice. certainly kerry is experienced in foreign policy. but the other side of that is that he is not a man with new and bold yds. this is not really a new face in foreign policy. and actually, if you go back six or eight months, the obama team was saying don't
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assume that the new secretary of state will be one of two or three known names, not susan rice or john kerry, necessarily. but maybe someone new and from outside. and john kerry is certainly not a new face. in a way, it's a throwback to foreign policy of past decades. >> brown: ba kind of new ideas, or what are you referring to that he would lack in terms of experience or ideas about how to cope with current problems or future problems. >> no, he-- as a matter of experience he certainly has lots of experience. and in that sense, that is a strength for him. but i think he hasn't over the years been an originator of new kinds of policies. if you take, for example, china policy i think that he may be reluctant to react to
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a china which is very different from the way it was in the past. >> brown: let me bring david ignatius back. i guess it depends on what you think is needed right now, right? >> i think the world's a mess as kerry believes. he's right. and needs a strong american voice. needs the sort of steady hand that some of these experiences can bring. i point i would make about kerry is that although he often comes across as a stiff, as an establishment figure very form layic, in terms of shall ideas an willness-- willingness to engage adversaries, reach out and try to find a channel to iran, for example, reach out to the palestinians, try to think of new ways to deal with the arab world, kerry is on the more innovative side. so i think he is not going to be a wild radical-- the country will miss having someone like susan rice who
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is a younger, different voice. but i think that kerry-- it's wrong to think of kerry of just being a throwback to 30 years ago. >> brown: is it clear still that this is a second choice to susan rice? >> i think that president obama felt a deep personal bond with susan rice. and susan rice speaks the things, the lines that he would love to say out loud sometimes. the fact that she is very in your face where the president is so reserved and reticent, i think he will love to have that. i think susan rice decided in the end that he was going to be too costly for her and for obama if she went through this bruising confirmation fight and decided to to duck that fight. >> brown: james mann n the meantime we said there was no nomination put forward for a next secretary of defense. and i think there had been an expectation that they would kind of be rolled out, the whole team at one time.
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what can you tell us about what is going on particularly with one of their front-runners, chuck hagel? >> well, i did expect a couple of days ago that there would be an appointment for secretary of defense as well. and that it would be chuck hagel. the fact that they didn't do that could mean that they are taking more time to line things up politically. or it could mean they are having second thoughts. policically there are really two issues. one there is criticism, i think largely unjust find of to the being supportive of israel. the one that you see less of has to do with the fact that if kerry is secretary of state and hagel is secretary of defense, is there a job for a senior woman at the top levels of the foreign policy team. >> brown: david ignatius, what do you see going on? >> well, i think president
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obama is not yet made up his mind. i think they got out ahead of themselves in a sense. they were floating hagel as if it was a done deal when it really wasn't. s there's been intense criticism. i think for obama to pullback on hagel after appearing to have done that on susan rice would present at the beginning of the second term an image of weakness domestically and also naturale: -- internationally. >> brown: and hagel, a former republican senator so we're looking -- >> there is the bipartisan element. although senator hagel didn't have a lot of allies left in the republican party when he left. >> brown: david ignatius, james mann, thank you both very much. >> thank you. >> woodruff: still to come on the newshour: another day of mourning in newtown. we'll hear from wayne lapierre of the nra and mark glaze of mayors against illegal guns; education secretary arne duncan; and high school students from around the country. also, the state of the fiscal
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cliff after a split among republicans; plus shields and gerson. but first, the other news of the day. here's hari sreenivasan. >> sreenivasan: the streets of egypt's second largest city were filled with clashing islamists and their opponents today. the groups confronted each other in alexandria. it was the eve of a final-round vote on a draft constitution that's backed by islamists and president mohammed morsi. supporters of morsi and protesters threw rocks at each other, and riot police intervened with tear gas. officials said at least 40 people were injured. it was unclear who started the fight. north korea has detained an american citizen, and says he confessed to unspecified crimes. he was identified today as kenneth bae, a korean-american tour operator from washington state. north korean state media said he entered the country, with a tour, on november 3. the north has detained five other americans since 2009. all were released, eventually. american leaders past and present paid tribute today to the late senator daniel inouye of hawaii.
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a crowd filled the national cathedral in washington for the service honoring the japanese- american who became a war hero and served in the senate more than 50 years. president obama recalled watching inouye during the televised watergate hearings in 1973. >> to see this man, this senator, this powerful, accomplished person who was not a central cast. and the way he commanded the respect of an entire nation, i think it hinted to me what might be possible in my own life. >> sreenivasan: inouye died monday at the age of 88. a pre-christmas storm rumbled across the great lakes today, toward canada. the storm had closed roads and grounded more than 1,000 flights on thursday. but as conditions improved, chicago's o'hare international and other airports returned to normal for one of the busiest days of the year. elsewhere, parts of wisconsin, iowa, and michigan dug out from more than a foot of snow. the storm was blamed for at least nine deaths in half a dozen states.
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the day that some pegged as the "end of the world" came and went without incident. the focus on december 21, 2012, was said to be based on projections in an ancient mayan calendar. in mexico, tourists and new age spiritualists gathered to greet the day at mayan archaeological sites. and thousands converged on stonehenge in england for an "end of the world" party coinciding with the winter solstice. it may not be doomsday, but americans are feeling less hopeful about the future. the university of michigan's consumer confidence index fell this month to the lowest point since july. and wall street gave ground today on worries about the lack of a budget deal in washington. the dow jones industrial average lost almost 121 points to close near 13,190. the nasdaq fell 29 points to close at 3,021. for the week, the dow gained about half a percent; the nasdaq rose 1.7%. those are some of the day's major stories. now, back to judy. >> woodruff: and we return to the aftermath of the shootings in newtown, connecticut, a week ago today. ray suarez begins our coverage
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of the latest developments. >> suarez: a cold rain fell this morning in newtown, connecticut, as townspeople and officials gathered at city hall for a moment of silence. at 9:30, a bell rang 26 times, once for each of the 20 children and six adults killed one week ago at sandy hook elementary school. mourners also gathered again at funerals and at makeshift memorials. >> i feel as though the first few days after this happened was really a feeling of numbness and shock. but now that's lifting a little bit and the reality is setting in, and it's very, very painful. >> suarez: at the white house, president obama observed a moment of silence with his staff, and church bells tolled across the country.
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the national cathedral in washington chimed 28 times for the school victims, and for the shooter, adam lanza, and his mother, nancy lanza. religious leaders at the observance called for congress to act on gun violence in the wake of the tragedy. >> if the killing of these 20 children will not move us to enact meaningful legislation that values god-given human life over an amendment crafted for a time and a nation that bears no resemblance to our own, then there is little hope for us. >> suarez: in a new video, the president said nearly 200,000 people have signed a petition on the white house web site calling for new gun laws. underscoring that plea, a gunman killed three people today west of harrisburg, pennsylvania. he was killed later in a shootout with state troopers. since the attack, the nra has been the subject of heavy
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criticism, but its leaders had refused to do any interviews before this weekend, including the newshour. the group broke its near silence in washington, d.c., this morning. vice president wayne lapierre would not answer any questions, but he read a nearly 25-minute- long statement that called for armed guards in every school. here are excerpts of what he said. he was interrupted twice by protesters. >> the national rifle association's four million mothers, fathers, sons and daughters join the nation in horror, outrage, grief and earnest prayer for the families of newtown, connecticut, who have suffered such incomprehensible loss as a result of this unspeakable crime. for all the noise and anger
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directed at us over the past week, no one-- nobody-- has addressed the most important, pressing and immediate question we face: how do we protect our children right now, starting today, in a way that we know works? the only way to answer that question is to face the truth. politicians pass laws for gun- free school zones. they issue press releases bragging about them. they post signs advertising them. and in so doing, they tell every insane killer in america that
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schools are the safest place to inflict maximum mayhem with minimum risk. when it comes to our most beloved, innocent and vulnerable members of the american family, our children, we as a society leave them every day utterly defenseless, and the monsters and the predators of this world know it and exploit it. that must change now! >> stop killing our children! >> our society is populated by an unknown number of genuine monsters, people so deranged, so evil, so possessed by voices and driven by demons that no sane
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person can possibly ever comprehend them. they walk among us every day. and does anybody really believe that the next adam lanza isn't planning his attack on a school he's already identified at this very moment? rather than face their own moral failings, the media demonize lawful gun owners, amplify their cries for more laws, and fill the national media with misinformation and dishonest thinking that only delay meaningful action, and all but guarantee that the next atrocity is only a news cycle away. the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.
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you know, five years ago, after the virginia tech tragedy, when i said we should put armed security in every school, the media called me crazy. but what if, when adam lanza started shooting his way into sandy hook elementary school last friday, he had been confronted by qualified armed security? will you at least admit it's possible that 26 little kids, that 26 innocent lives might have been spared? is that so abhorrent to you that you would rather continue to risk the alternative? i call on congress today to act immediately to appropriate whatever is necessary to put
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armed police officers in every single school in this nation, and to do it now, to make sure that blanket of safety is in place when our children return to school in january. the nra is going to bring all of its knowledge, dedication and resources to develop a model national school shield emergency response program for every school that wants it. from armed security to building design and access control to information technology to student and teacher training, this multi-faceted program will be developed by the very best experts in their fields. >> suarez: we get a response to the nra's comments now. it comes from mark glaze, the director of mayors against illegal guns, a coalition of more than 800 mayors who support
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some gun control initiatives. it's chaired by new york mayor michael bloomberg and boston mayor thomas menino. is there was a lot in that address. 235-- 25 minutes long. but it might be boiled down into one statement. 9 only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun. what was your response to wayne la pierre's message today? >> well, generally i was surprised. and i have been watching the nra for a long time. my dad was a gun deal never colorado, among other things. and you know, i sort of know that nra members are basically mainstream folks with mainstream views on guns. and the nra is normally a smart organization or thought to be. but today's statement is probably the best evidence of i have seen that the organization has a serious political positioning problem. it was incoherent it was factually incorrect. and it was so politically tone deaf to suggest to a nation that a sort of rising up for action, that the
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answer to to many guns in our society is to put an rnl aed guard in the class room, i think that wayne la pierre has a problem within the country but also within his organization. >> suarez: he pointed out that when you put up a sign that says gun-free school, this he is a gun-free school zone, that you are telling anybody who might want to commit an armed crime there, that they can come on in and no one will shoot back. >> i must tell you, i mean he was speaking in english but beyond that i have no idea what he was talking about. the idea that people are looking to shoot up schoolchildren simply because they see a sign saying that there are no guns there is beyond comprehension. and it's beyond comprehension to most nra members. i think important for our mayer is to keep pointing out to people is that this is to the about the nra membership. we had a-- he found that 74% of nra members think that every person in this country who wants to buy a gun should have to pass a background check. wayne la pierre fights that tooth and nail. they think that 70% of them
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believe that if you are on a terror watch list and therefore can't get on a plane with you an me, they shouldn't be able to go to a licensed dealer and buy a gun, but today they can. that, the mainstream of the nra is people like my dad, who want to have guns because they have a good time going out to shoot because they want to hunt, because they want to be self-reliant and be able to defend themselves in their homes. that's not where the nra is today. >> suarez: i haven't seen the polling numbers yet but i would guess that you would get a much higher result if you asked people do you think it's reasonable to have security guards armed in schools. >> sure. i mean with the situation being what it is today, when there are as many guns as there are people in our society, people want to do anything to keep their kids safe. my son is about the age of kids in that school, one of whom was shot 12 times. but the circularity of the argument that the nra has been making for a generation i think is coming home to people. that the nra is washington lobbyists, because it is
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their business model, have been systemically chipping away at reasonable gun regulations for a generation. for example, just last year inspired by the nra the virginia legislature got rid of a one gun a month rule. that's 12 guns a year that you can buy, by the way. so by eradicating basically common sense rules like that, that are modest restrictions, they have given us a society in which there are so many guns in the criminal marketplace, that you got to find some way to deal with it. the nra then responds by saying well, there are so many guns in the criminal marketplace, we need to put armed guards in schools and make sure everybody can carry everywhere. they created this problem in significant part. anmore guns are not the answer. >> suarez: a lot of mr. la pierre's address today had to do with american culture, with movies, with violence on television, with violent video games. if i talk to a lot of your member mayers, might they find a lot of common ground with him on that? >> well, there's no question
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that we need, for example, better mental health treatment in this country. there is, you know, no question that violent video games are something that those of us who are parents have a problem with, an maybe we should have a rating system where, you know, some mechanism for making sure that kids aren't unduly influenced by them. but think about this, in the united kingdom where they, by the way, watch the same move yeast and see the same video games that we do, murders in any given year are a few dozen. they maybe top-out at 50 or so. in the united states in any given year, recently, and there have been 11 to 12,000 murders every year it is not just because we have a different population size. it's because we make it exceptionally easy for almost anyone to get any gun they want with about three mouse clicks. mark glaze, thanks for joining us. >> thanks for having me. >> suarez: you can watch the nra's complete address online; and compare u.s. gun policy with that of other nations in a post from the council on foreign relations.
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>> woodruff: a cloud of uncertainty hung over official washington today after conservative house republicans last night spurned a fiscal cliff plan put forward by their leader, and as the president made a late-friday appeal to both sides to keep working toward an agreement. newshour congressional correspondent kwame holman has our report. >> holman: house speaker john boehner went before cameras this morning just hours after he abandoned a vote on his "plan b". >> it's not the outcome that i wanted, but that was the will of the house. >> holman: boehner's plan would have raised tax rates for households making more than $1 million, whereas president obama would raise rates on incomes above $400,000. but last night, as the vote neared, it became clear that at least two dozen rank-and-file republicans still opposed any increase. so party leaders abruptly ended the session. >> the house will stand in recess subject to the call of the chair.
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>> holman: at that point, republicans called an emergency meeting here in their capitol conference room, and leaders told members they did not have the votes. they announced the house would break until after christmas, but did not name a date when the chamber would reconvene. today, the speaker dismissed any suggestion that the turn of events was a rejection of his leadership. >> they weren't taking that out on me. they were dealing with the perception that somebody might accuse them of raising taxes. >> holman: democrats said the speaker had wasted a week, only to be slapped down by his own party. house minority whip steny hoyer: >> last night's vote showed us that resolving the challenge that confronts us with the fiscal cliff cannot and will not be done with a partisan vote. >> holman: senate majority leader harry reid agreed with that assessment, but he suggested there's a way to recover. >> now, i like john boehner, but gee whiz, this is pretty big political battering he's taken.
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what he should do is allow a vote in the house of representatives on a bipartisan bill. it will pass. >> holman: the president met this afternoon with reid and spoke with boehner, then came to the white house briefing room. >> in the next few days work towards a package that avoids tax hike on mid class, >> and lays the groundwork for further work on both growth and deficit reduction. that's an achievable goal. that can get done in ten days. >> bayne never >> holman: in his appearance earlier, boehner, flanked by majority leader eric cantor, sounded doubtful, but said he's willing to try. >> how we get there, god only knows. all i'm telling you is that eric and i, and our team here are committed to working with our colleagues on both sides of the aisle, both sides of the capitol, and the white house to address that.
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>> holman: still, as the capitol emptied for the holiday, the clock was ticking down to more than $500 billion in spending cuts and tax hikes kicking in. >> woodruff: and to the analysis of shields and gerson-- syndicated columnist mark shields and "washington post" columnist michael gerson. david brooks is off tonight. gentlemen, good to have you with us. >> good to be with you. >> woodruff: so mark, the fiscal cliff, it's still with us. it's still out there. the president made a last minute statement late this afternoon. where does everything stand? >> nobody knows, judy. what happened last night in the republican caucus is precedent shattering. i mean it really is. that john boehner could not get a majority of his own caucus to support what had become the republican position, endorsed not simply by him but by republican whip kevin mccar three an republican majority leader eric cantor. and it's a real problem.
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i think it puts at risk boehner's own leadership and his ability to deliver republicans. it weakens the bargaining position for republicans in the final negotiations. but i don't know how much closer we are because i think it strengthens the liberals in the democratic caucus, which is going to make it tougher for the republicans to accept it. because a weakened republican means a strengthened emboldened democratic liberal group. and i just think that there are too many moving parts at this point to say this is what is going to happen. >> what do you-- can it get done, michael? i mean -- >> i agree with mark. today was supposed to be the end of the world. i think it feels like it for boehner. this was a case where he ended up with 40 to 50 members of his caucus that would not support anything on this. >> that's right. >> and they were to the right of grover norquist. norquist was open.
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>> woodruff: he had endorsed him. >> right so, they want to go off the cliff flags flying. it marginalized boehner and the republicans in future negotiations. and raised a question of whether anyone can get a governing majority in the house of representatives when it comes to the budget. those are really serious matters. now it does go to the senate where harry reid and mcconnell can try to come to some, you know, functional su render for republicans and kick the cannon a lot of other issues and see if that can pass in the next ten days am buts that still has to pass the house. and so i think the chances of backing off of the cliff are higher than they ever have been. >> you know, i listened to some of these recalcitrant house republicans today, mark. and they were saying, i was to the going to vote for a tax increase when my constituent was never have gone along with that. >> well, i think there are two realities, here, judy. first of all there's a lot of republicans, more than a few democrats who are
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terrified of one thing, that's being primary, primary opponent without going to run on your right if you are a republican. on your left if you are a democrat. it's really become a problem for republicans. because this has been an article of faith that said before it is since 1990 that any republican in the house or the senate voted for a tax increase on capitol hill. any republican. now of the 2 41 republicans now in the house, 212 of them have come to the congress since 1990. so they've never voted for a tax increase. they don't know anybody who has voted for a tax increase. and they were being asked to vote for a tax increase for tactical advantage, on a piece of legislation that they knew the president a, would veto, b would not pass the senate. >> woodruff: only on people earning over a million. >> a million dollars, but they were going to give up their political virginity and risk a primary challenge, that is how they saw it by doing this. what they failed to address is the reality that when you are part of the governing
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party, and any institution, the house or senate, anyplace else, you have a responsibility to make sure that you can govern. and what they did was they robbed the republicans, that 40 to 50. they robbed the republicans of that sense of leadership, of govern ability and robbed them, i think, and reduced the brand of the republican party even more. >> is it a fundamental disagreement over what governing is? >> yeah, i think that that is part of it. i think what they con answer is how are they going to get a better result. >> that's right. >> when you go over the cliff. or later on in these negotiations. because they're not. this actually undermines their negotiating power and position which because it is a foolish position to be in. but it does, it raises some really big issues. i mean one of them here is that we now have a president and a speaker who both wanted a deal, okay. by every account they wanted a deal. they tried it twice. and they couldn't make it
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happen. now i don't think they can make it happen. it's a serious kind of governing challenge right now. if you look we've got a short term political crisis am we have a long-term fiscal crisis. and we're providing no confidence what so ever that we can approach those things as a government in a mature way. we look increasingly like we have the dysfunction, the governmental dysfunction of europe without the excuse of being separate countries. and you know, i think it's a serious challenge to america's standing in the world that the views of credit car mets an-- markets. and washington is not faking it yet with sufficiency seriousness. >> i just add, not in a partisan way, that the 213 shall 215 to 2089-- 209 vote last night in the house before the whole thing came apart which was to not take the sequestration funds out, let's take them out of domestic spending, a party-line vote. 20 -- democrats stuck on
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that. not a single one broke. and i think you are seeing far more unity in the democratic ranks than in the republican ranks right now. i agree it is a governmental problem. if the whole thing comes grinding to a halt and we see it reflected in the financial markets and the stock market an elsewhere, then it's a governmental problem. it's not simply a democratic advantage or republican advantage. but right now the real fault lines are in the republican caucus. >> rooney: we-- . >> woodruff: sounds like none of us knows where this is head. so let's move to another subject. michael, the president today named john kerry to be secretary of state. it had been widely believed he wanted to choose the u.n. ambassador, susan rice. john kerry. what do you make of the choice? >> i think it's a safe choice an a good choice. this is a man who has had three decades on the foreign relations committee. former presidential candidate. would have immediate standing on the global stage, similar to the hillary clinton in this kind of job.
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he's also been a troubleshooter for the president in some key ways under the radar screen. when south sudan was separating from the north and it looked like those negotiations were breaking down, kerry came in and really made a difference there. so i think-- he looks good. after the rice nomination. he has less controversial nominee. he has a lot of respect among his colleagues in the senate. and so i think that the president, you know, is not-- is not a hard choice. >> i think james mann and david ignatius put it very well. i mean that he is-- he is experienced, probably unmatched in experience. he does bring considerable stature and first name base business many of the people around the world with whom he was dealing. he has done as david pointed out back channel missions for 9 president whether it's dealing with hamas, afghanistan, pakistan.
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and he is eminently confirmable, in the senate. there is no question about it. and it opens up a possibility for a republican seat in massachusetts. so republicans are cheered by that. >> woodruff: and quickly before we leave that, there was, and we heard this mentioned earlier, some, there is still conversation about whether the president is going to name, may name chuck hagel, former republican senator to be secretary of defense. a lot of criticism has risen up. outside groups are saying they are going to defeat him if he's named. what is going on there? >> yeah, well, i mean, there is certainly chuck hagel has been subjected to withering criticism for his lack of constant or at least unswerving support of every israeli administration. that has been a central part there are people who have personal issues with chuck hagel. i personally think a he's close to the president. he was close to the president when the president was in the senate. and i think he brings to it
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credentials that are sadly lack approximating in this administration. i mean this is somebody who has spilled blood, shed blood for his own country, spilled blood for his country. faced combat. chose to go to vietnam. he had ordered to go to germany as an enlisted man. he insisted on going to vietnam where he faced serious combat. i just think he brings to it first vietnam veteran to be secretary of defense and the only enlisted man ever to be secretary of defense. i think those are credentials that are needed. >> woodruff: any thoughts on this. >> i think some people say the trial balloons are a sign of presidential weak finance they don't go up. they're not really. they're actually a smart way for the president to engage in this i think the opposition to hagel is growing. i think it is rooted in disagreements not just about israel but about defence cuts. but about his ease on iran which are significantly to the left of president. and because he doesn't have a lot of respect of former colleagues here which are chrorming out, and many of them in opposition.
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i think it's an unlikely nomination. >> woodruff: we return you both to the gun control discussion. we heard from the head of the nra, mark, today, wayne la pierre who is advocating putting an armed guard in every school. the president launched a task force this week. where do you see it headed. >> that call wayne la pierre and the nra a-- i think is an understatement. they seem to be almost whining about criticism of their position was somehow rooted in the press buyas or elected officials who have gun-free school zones. you know, judy, the reality is, and it's a terrible reality, since robert kennedy died in the ambassador hotel on june 4th, 1968, more americans have died from gunfire than died in all the war, all the wars of this country's history, from the revolutionary to the civil war, world war i,
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world war ii, and those 43 years. we have half the guns 245 are in the world are in the united states. i mean guns are a problem. and i think they still have to be confronted. >> woodruff: something like 280 million guns. >> we're to the going to get rid of all those guns. that's to the going to happen. >> daniel patrick moynihan and tax ammunition. >> i think there are a series of reasonable things we could do, even going back to the 1990s when it comes to ammunition, magazine size, and the sought-- certain types of semiautomatic weapons. you should be able to make that case. we swung so far in this debate in the libertarian direction, that those are fairly minimal burdens on anyone's rights when it comes to this. it might have a marginal positive impact on gun violence. but any solution is also going have to deal with mental health issues. security in schools, i don't think it's practical to put armed people in tens of
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thousands of schools. but security in schools, as well as reasonable gun controls. we're going to have to do a bunch of things in this area. >> sobering topic and we'll be coming back to. michael gerson, mark shields, thank you both. and merry christmas. >> merry christmas to you. thank you. >> brown: tonight, a special pbs broadcast called "after newtown" begins a national dialogue about the issues raised by that tragedy. gwen ifill will host this evening's collaboration of our national news and science programs. yesterday, she sat down with education secretary arne duncan for the special. it was the former chicago public school superintendent's first interview since the killings. here's part of their conversation. >> secretary duncan where does the responsibility lie for action here? >> it lies on all of us. all of us as parents, as community leaders, as
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religious leaders, as political leaders. no one gets to pass on this. and this is to the a time to point fingers or lay blame. often these things, there are lots of inclinations to do that but this is complex and anyone who wants to say there is a simple answer here i think does a great disservice to the complexity and urgency of fundamentally trying to make our country a safer place for our children. >> ifill: the president has asked the committee that you will be on, that vice president biden is going to spearhead to come up with solution or approaches within a month, before the state of the union speech. do you worry that the outrage is going to fade before that happens? >> i don't worry about the outrage fading. i worry about our collective courage to break through. and again, for me and for so many people in this country, this is not a new issue. we've been fighting this issue for a long, long time. i, in chicago we buried a
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child killed by gun violence every two weeks. think about that, every two weeks we bury a child. the vast majority innocent children. one at their birthday parties, in the afternoon. these aren't-- the vast ma jorbted aren't gangbangers. >> ifill: but outside of that neighborhood, it goes unremarked upon, mostly. >> that is what i worry about, is the lack of courage, the lack of willingness to break through. we have an endemic here, and we need to change that in a very fundamental way. and as i said for the horror and the anguish and the pain, i do think the world has shifted. i think people have a sense that enough is enough. and when you have, you know, 20 babies and six teachers and principals killed in a matter 6 seconds, a minute? i mean, in such a short amount of time, in a very
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peaceful, very safe community, everyone in this country, this has touched people in a different way. everyone in this country feels vulnerable. and want its something better for their own children. >> ifill: and most policy leaders like you, and even individuals have said this isn't just about guns. this isn't just about mental health. it's a nuanced solution. >> yes, it's very complicated. i any one of the other risks is danger of to oversimplify. do we need less gun, not more, absolutely. the president talked the other day about a ban on assault weapons. we have to, you know, we have to look at the gun issue very, very seriously. but that by itself, is an important piece of the equation but not the answer by itself. and we have to talk about mental health. we have to talk about school safety is we have to talk about parent and community responsibility. for better or worse, in these mass shootings, the profile of the shooters are remarkably similar.
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and when we have young people in our communities who are hurting, who are use tra sized, who are bullied, who need mental health services and don't receive them, there's a grave, grave cost that we as a society take. i actually have a lot of confidence in our country at the end of the day. and i think, i think given this tremendous tragedy, i'm optimistic. i can't guarantee but i'm optimistic that we can get our country to a much, much better place. and our children, and our children, our families, our communities deserve no less. >> put yourself in the issues of school superintendent, school principal, school administrators around the country trying to figure out what to do, how to speak to this. what to do, how to speak. >> i think you have to do a number of things. first of all you have to have honest conversations with our children. and if they're scared, if they're afraid, finding lots of different vehicles, avenues for them to address that fear whether it's talking about it, or whether it's writing about it, or whether it's drawing about
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it, i think the worst thing you can do is sort of sweep this under the rug. our children are smart. they watch tv. they reed the newspapers. they listen. and i would doubt there is a child in this country who isn't thinking about this. and i know my two young children are thinking about this quite a lot. we have to help teachers and principals deal with their own fears. and you know, they don't want to be in the line of fire. you know, they could easily, they see themselves as those teachers who got killed, as that principal without got killed and what can we do to help the adults deal with those difficult issues. how do we help those children, those families who are, we know are on the margins who are struggling. how do we get them not just as a school system, but as a community, how do we get them the help and the support they need so that they don't end up in this kind of situation. and then finally how do we make sure our schools are absolutely as safe as possible. our schools have been
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forever safe havens, often safest places in the community. and we need to continue to do everything in our power to make sure that they are. >> ifill: mr. secretary, thank you so much. >> thank you. >> woodruff: much more of gwen's interview will air later tonight in a pbs special broadcast. you can watch the entire interview with secretary duncan online. >> brown: and we close with the thoughts of young people about what happened in newtown a week ago today. the newshour asked students from the 45 schools participating in our network of student reporting labs to talk with classmates about their initial reactions. here are some of those interviews. >> on the way home i watched the news and i found that it was true. it up set me a lot. i was really shocked. and felt kind of heartbroken because i don't feel any six-year-olds an 7-year-olds should have to enduring something like that. >> we saw the news about a shooting. and when we saw it, we were
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surprised because it was an elementary school. and we were sad and up set because it happened to all them little children, that didn't even get to experience life yet. >> just somber kind of feeling all over the classroom. and we just thought about it. and i was like thinking about the little kids and how scared i would have been if i had been in that situation, even as the teenager. and i was just sad for them. >> being an uncle, i have a two year ol nephew running around. and he's my life. so when i think about, you know, young children and how much they could mean to their parents or you know their peers, it breaks my heart. >> she's looking through it and she sees the story. and i remember she tells me and the first thing that hit me was disbelief. at that moment i just remember that my mom grabbed me and hugged me as tight as she could. and we just kind of shared this moment. and just took it all in.
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>> it wasn't until i got home when i heard the full story. and i was-- as i was reading the story i immediately thought of the first grade class i interned with. and just how anyone could possibly do that. >> i can't imagine, you know, having a kid of mine one day and just something like this happening. you don't think it can ever happen to anybody. you don't think that you could lose a kid at school. it seems like one of the safest places it could be am it seems safer than the street, you know. but i can't imagine after this confidently sending a child to a grade school and just not being in the back of your mind. >> my perception hasn't really changed on that school being a safe place. it's just the same way you hear bay plane crash and are you scared to go on a plane. planes are still the safest way of transportation. my principal said that schools are the most safe place for a student to be. >> i talked to my mom about it. she's a first grade teacher at a local elementary school
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here. and she was just talking about how her class motto is, she asks her kids what's my number one jochblt and they all answer, to keep us safe. and she was just saying how as a teacher, that's you what want to do. you just want to help your kids. you want to protect them. you want to make sure that they're safe from these kind of things. but she just kept saying how her body couldn't possibly cover all 25 of the kids in her class. >> it is our job to either make our lives betzer because they don't get to take their lives or we have to help the ones around there to make their families and their friends have a better life because they won't get to spend it with those little kids, and the teachers and the faculty. >> woodruff: you can find all of the student videos online. >> brown: again, the major developments of the day: president obama tapped senator john kerry to replace outgoing secretary of state hillary clinton.
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one week after the school massacre in newtown, connecticut, the head of the national rifle association dismissed talk of new gun laws. instead, he called for putting armed police in every school. and congress went home for the christmas holiday with no fiscal cliff agreement in sight. online, we look at some of the most popular new words of the year, according to one popular lexicon. hari sreenivasan tells us more. >> sreenivasan: what are the buzzwords of 2012? and do you know what they mean? quiz yourself on the most popular new vernacular from urban dictionary. we kept our political analysts busy this year. watch a compilation of highlights from our doubleheader conversations, on the sport of politics and politics of sports, with mark shields and david brooks. and in a follow-up to yesterday's "making sense" story, paul solman pushes author james livingston on his view that spending is better than private investment. all that and more is on our web site, judy. >> woodruff: and that's the newshour for tonight. on monday, we'll have the latest on the connecticut shootings.
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before we go, we want to remind you about the special pbs broadcast tonight, "after newtown". the program will explore gun availability, mental health, and other issues which have come to the fore since the tragedy. gwen will host this collaboration of all our national news and science programs. check your local listings. i'm judy woodruff. >> brown: and i'm jeffrey brown. we'll see you online and, as it's looking like the end is not upon us yet, again here monday evening. have a nice winter weekend. thanks for joining us. good night. >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪
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moving our economy for 160 years. bnsf, the engine that connects us. >> and by the bill and melinda gates foundation. dedicated to the idea that all people deserve the chance to live a healthy, productive life. >> and with the ongoing support of these institutions and foundations. and... >> this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. captioning sponsored by macneil/lehrer productions captioned by media access group at wgbh
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